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Posts Tagged ‘depression’

I love that the abbreviation for Seasonal Affective Disorder is, literally, SAD. Because that’s how it makes you feel! 🤷

So I had a bunch of different ideas for a beauty blog tonight, but I literally couldn’t muster the energy to take pictures and swatches and pull one together. I’ve been trying to ignore it, but it’s definitely that time of year again. I always say February is my least favorite month of the year, with March close behind. The big holidays that were so anticipated and so close together (Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year’s Eve) are over… It’s getting colder and colder… Everything outside is dead… There’s snow and ice and it’s normally dreary.

As someone who has suffered from depression and various anxieties my whole life, you would think this would be a normal bout of depression, but since it hits me at the same time and with the same degree every single year, I’m going with SAD. It’s not quite as strong as a normal bout of my “normal” depression, but it bears a commonality.

Do you suffer? Here are some things I think might help:

1. Recognize it for what it is. If you are normally a cheery, happy go lucky person, don’t think something is “wrong” with you. If you Google it, one of the first things that come up is that this is very common, and especially common in the winter months.

2. If you need to, see a counselor or your doctor. Even if it’s only seasonal, I’m definitely an advocate of counseling if you think you need it. At any rate, it doesn’t hurt to try it, and you might end up sticking with it for other areas of your life.

3. Try to go with the flow. I try to post on my beauty Instagram 6 days a week, and I already missed two. It’s ok. Don’t beat yourself up. Tell yourself you will shoot for tomorrow and if you need to, make an outline or list of what you would like to do.

4. Do low-key activities. So you are having trouble getting stuff accomplished. That is ok, but you don’t want to just lie on the couch for two months straight. I have found (for me), that makes me worse. Don’t pressure yourself or plan anything stressful, but find easy things that will engage you a bit. Read a book you’ve been setting aside. Check out that Netflix series you wanted to watch. Swatch a ton of palettes just to swatch and compare, not for Instagram-worthy pics.

5. I haven’t tried these, but I hear a lot of people have success. Go tanning, get a therapy lamp, or get a weighted blanket. So the tanning is to just have some warmth to your skin to make you feel better. The weighted blanket helps you feel snug and secure. The therapy lamp thing is not a normal lamp, but it’s very bright and supposed to mimic the sun on your face/body.

6. Try to exercise and eat well. I am currently failing at both, but I recognize both make you feel tons better, whether you are suffering from SAD or even just anytime. Your body needs the right nutrients go function properly, and your body needs exercise to maintain itself. If you have a gym nearby, try it out a couple of days a week. Check youtube for some yoga videos. Check out the Tasty site for some new recipes with lots of greens and fruits 🙂

On top of all, be kind to yourself! And be kind to others. You might not be the only one around you going through something 🙂

I hope to have a normal beauty blog up later this week! Here’s hoping 🙂

-AV

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I know I’ve posted about this before, but I have had anxiety for as long as I can remember. I was the 10 year old who wouldn’t ask for anything for Christmas because I knew my parents were struggling with money and I was worried about them paying bills. I had anxiety over my looks, my weight, my friends, school, home…everything. It got worse as I got older and learned there was more to be anxious about. Jobs, bills…let’s be real, it’s pretty endless what you can be stressed and/or anxious over. Turn on the news. That will give anyone anxiety 🙄

I think since I had anxiety from such a young age, and part of my anxiety was self consciousness (and I didn’t want people noticing me or paying specific attention to me), I have what I have heard called “high functioning anxiety.” 99% of the people I know have no idea how anxious I am. Some have expressed disbelief when I list the different anxieties I have.

I do have good days and of course bad days. Some days I put off phone calls or leaving the house because I can’t deal with it that day. Other days I manage to go to the store by myself (that’s an extremely good day). Some days I lay in bed and cry because I’m so scared someone is going to break into our house and murder us (seriously…that is an actual fear I have).

My husband…he is so supportive but I don’t think he’s ever had anxiety. I can see it in his face that he just doesn’t understand. He supports me well though, for not understanding.

If you have anxiety…do what you can when you can. If you can’t leave the house that day…try again tomorrow. Celebrate small victories. Be nice to yourself. If you know someone with anxiety…just be there for them. Do what you can to help ease their anxiety.

❤️

-AV

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If where you live is anything like where I live, you’ve experienced a long, very cold, very snowy winter that still isn’t quite over. And if you’re anything like me and my husband, you have way too many things that just sit around your house and never get thrown away or put in their proper places. Some of it is laziness, but I truly believe when the weather is awful, and you’re cold and tired and it’s dark and dreary…who feels like doing anything? If you do feel like doing anything, it’s doing something to try and lighten your mood. For most people, cleaning isn’t immediately the first thing you think of to lighten your mood. You want to get your fun things out and play with them or read them or watch them or whatever…and then just kind of toss them aside, right?

And as a quick side note, I guess the above paragraphs makes less sense if winter is your favorite time of the year. It’s my least favorite. I need sunlight and warmth or I slowly start dying inside. I mean that somewhat literally.

The thing is, I realized my house was getting way out of control, but I kept thinking: I just need to get myself through this winter. Once spring comes, I will do a huge spring cleaning weekend, and it will all be fine.

But the winter kept dragging on. There were hardly any even semi-warm days. We were barely getting up to 30 degrees Fahrenheit most days. I have fought with depression my whole life off and on, and winter is always the hardest time of year for me. Once we hit the end of January and February, I could honestly go into a coma until spring finally comes because I’m so sick and tired of the weather. So every day I would come home from work, cold and depressed, look at the house, and almost cry. So I would watch funny youtube videos, or download new music, or watch one of my shows, take a shower, and go to bed. Then I would wake up in the evening (night shift), look at my house, and curl up on the couch under a blanket and just wish I could burn the house down. That would solve my clutter problem *and* provide momentary heat. Win-win, right? Yeah, I was getting pretty down.

So finally, I snapped out of it. I told myself sternly that this was the weekend. Neither my husband nor I had plans for Sunday. My husband hates cleaning even more than I do, so it took some prompting, but I finally got him up and looking through things. I started dusting and sorting. We threw away tons of stuff. We finally put away the rest of the Christmas decorations. The dust was gone, so everything looked a little brighter. The floor was all picked up (minus the cat toys we found hidden everywhere…the babies were happy to pounce on a pile of ‘new’ toys) and swept. Blankets were folded and placed on the back of the couch. Books were arranged neatly. Movies were stacked. I wanted to cry again, but this time from happiness.

I kind of knew that cleaning up would help my mood, but once I actually did it, I couldn’t believe how big of a difference it made. It’s been a day since we picked it up, and I kept cleaning stuff. I cleaned off the kitchen table and the kitchen counter. Made sure the dishes and laundry were done. Picked up some stuff in the bedroom that had been piling up since last summer. I can’t stop looking around my living room even as I type this. It seemed like we had just so much junk sitting around, but once it was picked up, I realized it honestly wasn’t that bad. We just have a small house and we need to learn that once we’re done with something, it needs to go in its proper place.

I’m not a super neat person, but cleaning up more than just wiping down the kitchen and bathroom just made the world of a difference. I even tried arranging some stuff on tables to just give the room a little bit of character. We changed some pictures out for new things to look at.

My point ultimately is, is if you’re struggling with depression, whether it’s chronic or seasonal or whatever…look around. Do you have a lot of clutter? It’s not going to solve your depression, but I promise it will really make a difference. Sometimes the hardest thing when you have depression is just moving. Getting up is sometimes the hardest part of my day. All I’m saying is, just try. Just try moving around and dusting things off and putting things away. Put things you don’t use much in storage. Don’t make a mess in another room, but get the needless clutter out of your day-to-day vision. I’m so glad I finally just forced myself to do it.

Now if I can keep up with it, we’re good. I have some issues with follow-through 🙂

And if you are struggling with depression and you haven’t sought help, seriously consider it. A professional counselor can offer more tips to help you through your struggle. Talk to a friend or a parent or a sibling. Sometimes just knowing someone is listening can really help.

-AV

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I’m going to make a very serious kind of blog today, and this is about something that I, unfortunately, know very personally. This is not only about depression, but also about the guilt that seems to always be around depression.

Some people know this about me, but I don’t think a lot of people do, and I know some people who I’ve tried to tell who try to dismiss or block this information out of their heads. But I’m going to say, I’ve been depressed for most of my life. Now, what this means is, I’ve dealt with major and minor depression throughout my youth and what I’ve lived of my adult life. I haven’t tallied up anything to prove that I’ve been depressed more than I haven’t…and most people who have dealt with depression know why that is an almost impossible thing to do. I have had “major” depression where I know there were long stretches of time…weeks and months strung together, maybe even a whole year, where I was just flat out depressed all of the time. There would be periods where I would be mostly fine, but there would be sporadic or intermittent periods of depression. So it’s not an easy thing to necessarily keep track of. I also suffer from chronic anxiety and stress problems, even had panic attacks, so sometimes it’s hard for me to know when I’m just overly anxious about something or depressed or both or more happy than that tinge of depression I also feel and anyways…it’s not always black and white.

And the thing with depression is that it can affect anyone. By that, I mean that you don’t necessarily have to have a “terrible” life to have depression. You could even have a period of depression that stems from something that happened, in life or to you personally, like the death of someone close to you or even from something like 9/11, whether you knew anyone directly impacted or not. But I have had a pretty “good” life. I can look at my life and evaluate it to be good. A lot of people with depression can, when they are not in a depressed mind-state. And that’s where it sometimes gets hard. (Side-note: I don’t mean to overlook or gloss over people who have depression that stem from bad/hard lives or who have it from some event or anything like that….it’s just that that isn’t the case for me, and I don’t want to discuss or talk about something that I have never dealt with or really researched a lot, because I don’t want to portray it incorrectly.)

Sometimes it’s hard for other people to look at someone who says they are depressed and understand it, when they have not experienced it. Because they look at this person, they know this person, and they think, This person has a good life. What do they have to be sad about? There are people starving in Africa, people being killed all over the world, people living in oppression in parts of the world, people who are so poor they have no home, people who were raped or their child was killed…and *this* person says they are depressed??? What right do they have?

That’s the guilt. Little does this person know, that the depressed person has most likely already thought all of those things and more at least once. I *constantly* think those things. I think that makes my depression worse, because the second those thoughts enter my mind, suddenly I’m even more depressed because I’m so guilt-striken that I’m depressed. And it’s not a light thing or I’m trying to make myself sound better. Seriously. I think, I have no right to be depressed; so many people have worse lives than me–and it makes me sick. That just wraps myself deeper into the hole of depression, and I know it does for other people, too. I can read and logically think that it’s not my fault that I’m depressed, but especially when I’m going through a stage of depression, it’s so hard to not guilt-trip myself. Other people doing it make it even worse. But that’s the thing–I’m *not* depressed from a bad life. I’m assuming I’m depressed because of some chemical imbalance, or some genetic makeup or predisposition. I don’t know for sure, but I know I don’t choose to be depressed.

That is another thing that people who have never been depressed like to use against depressed people. It’s hard for them to understand that the depressed person does NOT WANT to be depressed. They say things like (and I have had this said to me several times), Just be happy. Stop being depressed. Just don’t think about it. Think about how much better your life is than X person (and that ties in with the guilt). Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. Although, I will say, probably the best thing that I can say that helps “break” through my depression is not thinking about it as best as I can, but that just seems to be my go-to line of defense for almost anything…and ironically, I don’t think that’s entirely healthy. I don’t know if I would necessarily recommend that to everyone, but it’s what I’ve almost always done as best as I can.

Someone who is depressed cannot just stop being depressed because another person tells them to be happy. Otherwise, there would be no depressed people. I guess my plea in this is to ask people to stop just immediately judging and adding to the depression and guilt unknowingly. Try to talk to the person and find out what he/she is feeling and thinking. Don’t make them feel worse, whether you mean to or not. Sometimes the depressed person really just wants someone to listen to them and not judge them (as best as you can…it’s a human thing to judge, but try to reserve it as strongly as you can). You listening to this person and not condemning them or guilt-tripping them might make all of the world to them. That alone might make their depression a little lighter, to know there’s someone who cares and is there for them.

And there is help out there. I have tried some of the options, and I would say the best is counseling. Unfortunately, I don’t have enough extra money right now to afford a pyschologist, but I really would liek to go back to counseling. I just need to find one that is cheaper or will work with me on payments, and it’s really just a need to research and look around. But while I was in college, that was the best thing to I did. I found out that they offered free on-campus counseling to students, and I drew up the courage to go in. It was a weird thing, because I feel like I already researched so much and read so much and did so much internal searching that I knew basically all of the logical and factual and practical things she was going to say, it still just helped so much to have someone listen to me. To have someone be concerned. To have someone try to stop the line of thinking that I was cycling through constantly. And after being extremely depressed all through high school and through three years of college, at the beginning of my last year of college, I had a break through. I felt a lot better than I ever remembered feeling. I still had my “dips,” but I knew I was in a better place. Just because I had someone to listen to me.

There is medication, and your doctor or, if you have a psychologist, your counselor can discuss options with you. I have tried I believe three different kinds, and I hated all of them. I think one might have technically been an anti-anxiety med, but I honestly think it’s all basically the same. They all made me sick or made me act strangely. I personally decided I didn’t want to try anymore medication, but decision is not for everyone. A lot of people react positively to medication, and a lot of people need or want to be on it. That is your decision, and something to be considered carefully.

As always, never think you are alone. And do not guilt trip yourself! It was especially hard after I got married. I had a few bad bouts of it, and while I haven’t had any long “string” of it since I’ve been married, it’s hard to even have a day where I’m depressed, because I just tell myself–I have a great husband. We’re doing fine. Why am I depressed? Well, I’m starting to tell myself that it’s just me, that’s how I was born, and maybe someday it will be different. Maybe it won’t. But I’m trying to lead myself toward greater self-acceptance. I have almost *always* hated myself, from being overweight to having bad skin to being horribly shy to being tired all of the time to be anxious and depressed…I have just hated myself. So everyday I try to give myself a break and try to like myself a little more.

I don’t know if this will help anyone, but even if it just helps one person, then this blog is worth it. Love yourself, and love others.

-AV

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